HENRY COUNTY, Ga. - The jury has officially been sequestered in the trial against a Henry County couple accused of killing their 2-year-old foster child.
Jennifer and Joseph Rosenbaum have been on trial for weeks for the death of Laila Daniel.
Before deliberations resumed Wednesday, the judge replaced one of the jurors who had a conversation with an Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter.
That juror was not dismissed but will remain with the alternates. With the replacement juror, deliberations will start over.
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The AJC reporter apologized in a letter after speaking to juror No. 76 during a lunch break Tuesday.
“She walked up. She said, ‘How’s it going?’ As a pleasantry. What she conveyed to us was that it wasn’t actually meant to inquire as a reporter saying what’s the status,” prosecutor Edward Chase said in court.
Chase said the juror told the reporter, “It’s going to be a while” and “There’s a lot of evidence to go over.”
That evidence includes graphic pictures of Laila with cuts and bruises all over her body. She also had broken bones.
But prosecutors said what killed her was a strong hit to the stomach. The defense said Laila died from choking on a chicken nugget and the bruising happened as Jennifer Rosenbaum tried to save her using the Heimlich maneuver.
The defense now wants a mistrial saying even the media coverage is too much.
“Despite the court’s order, the media has repeatedly and fragrantly violated Rule 22 that was not showing the juror’s faces, that it was not filming during breaks.”
The judge denied the request for a mistrial. With the sequestration, the jurors will go from the courthouse to hotel rooms and be guarded by deputies.
Deliberations will resume at 9 a.m. Thursday.
AJC editor Kevin Riley sent this statement on the organization's reporter and her interaction:
"The AJC, as a news organization, understands how sensitive jury deliberations are and takes the fairness of trials seriously. We regret this incident."
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